Melissa McCarthy SNL 2-1-14 Big


Super Bowl Halftime
Last year’s Super Bowl halftime sketch was amusing, but that came after the actual Super Bowl, so by default, it wasn’t too imaginative.  So it was nice to see SNL imagining an unusual scenario ahead of time this year.  They could have gone for stereotypical broad theater geek gags here, and they did, but only a little.  This felt like a Broadway production from Broadway people who actually were able to get the Super Bowl facts straight.  Plus the singing and dancing was awesome in and of itself.  Aidy popping in just to say “Oh my!” was delicious. B+

Melissa McCarthy’s Monologue
This was absolutely an unusual monologue, and it was performed with supreme confidence.  The pre-taped flashback was quite a whirlwind.  The fight itself wasn’t all that much, but it was certainly well-directed. B

Some Dumb Little Thing from CVS
This was an obvious joke, but it was executed well, with several weird details that made it particularly memorable.  Any mention of “Mambo. No. 5” is automatically awesome, and it’s not hard to imagine that a TMNT candy would put the chalk in chocolate. B

Delaware 1 News Special Report
This was a clever way to reprise Sheila Kelly, who, when last we saw her, was an abusive basketball coach at Middle Delaware State.  Good thing that wasn’t mentioned directly and that we were trusted to figure it out on our own.  And even if your weren’t familiar with that sketch, this one still worked, with its beautifully constructed narrative. B+

Women’s Group
This was yet another one of Melissa McCarthy’s unhinged, bizarrely enthusiastic characters, but this sketch worked well – and worked uniquely – because Melissa played it so much more calmly than she usually does.  Also, it was funny because she coincidentally also had yogurt. B+

Guess That Phrase!
This wasn’t a particularly clever game show concept, but that’s fine because we’ve already had some game show sketches this season that have completely upended expectations.  This was a classic formula: one strange contestant screws up the whole game.  But the two contestants who were playing by the rules were also a little insane.  Moreover, the game itself was charmingly low-key (the prize was a vacuum).  More than any other sketch ever, I was constantly writing the great lines from this sketch, which included:
-“Born ready, and very early.”
-“Give the golden goose a gander!”
-“…and my name is not Don.”
-“Well, my daughter’s name is Erica, so I’ll pick ‘E.’ Screw my daughter: ‘T’!”
-“Rebeccah, can I have half your points?”
-“Terrence is from Phoenix, and is currently starring in an all-male version of Little Women.” “I play Beth!”
-“she teaches dogs to dance.” “They hate it!”
-“The boat on the bayou floats right by you.”
-“That’s just so insane I’m gonna accept it.”
-“And Kathleen is reaching up for balloons that are not coming, because she’s not right, and because we don’t ever do balloons.”
-“Dang it, Don, can I approach the bench?” A

Black History Month Presentation
Kenan and Jay both had some solid rapping, but the real crux of this sketch was Bobby attempting to chime in and Kate’s teacher character immediately realizing that was a bad idea. B

Imagine Dragons with Kendrick Lamar perform “Radioactive”
Apparently, now that Imagine Dragons have hit it big, they are supremely uncool.  Whatever.  Before “Radioactive” blew up, I thought it was a great song.  I still do.  But this performance started off a little weak.  Then Kendrick Lamar provided his verse, and that seemed to fire everyone up, and ID singer Dan Reynolds brought it home for the ending, as is necessary for this song. B+

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: Seth’s last Update had an acceptable number of solid jokes … but most of them came from Cecily.  Obama accused of plagiarizing from a Bush speech, Eli Manning still on the field, the sex workout, the shark buying the first round, and Mötley Crüe dissolving something in your drink were the highlights. B
-The Segments: -Buford Calloway: I enjoyed the pronunciation of South Carolina, and I was amused by “Dixie Champagne,” but Taran can do better. B-
-Stefon and Amy (and Andy) Say Goodbye to Seth (and Gov. David Patterson): After the massive blowout that was Stefon’s wedding last year, I really didn’t want Stefon to show up for this.  But wisely, they didn’t make any attempt to top that extravaganza.  And the human DVR description was classic, so I can’t complain.  So, I definitely was not the biggest fan of Seth on Update, but he did make solid contributions to the show, and he deserved to be recognized for that. B+

Art Exhibit
I have to give the writers credit for coming up with a sketch that came from nowhere and was unpredictable (in nonsensical ways).  And I have to give Nasim credit for playing her part so seriously.  Unfortunately, this ended up being a bit of an endless, sloppy slog.  A fascinating slog, though. C+

Girlfriends Talk Show
Nice that Morgan was finely allowed to pick the guest, which seemed to portend this sketch being different this time, but instead it ultimately settled into its same exact rhythm.  At least it’s a perfectly pleasant rhythm.  Cecily and Aidy have a nice rapport, and it’s always interesting that Morgan and Kyra remain friends despite constantly annoying each other (well, Kyra annoys Morgan – it’s hard to tell what emotions Kyra is feeling). C+

Imagine Dragons perform “Demons”
I loved “Demons” the first several times I heard it.  Since it’s been played over and over, though, I’ve started to wonder if it’s a bit too silly.  ID could’ve re-convinced me about the greatness of “Demons,” but not with this lackluster performance.  Did Dan Reynolds blow his voice out on “Radioactive”? C

Summer in a Day
I am not entirely sure what this was, nor indeed do I think anybody really did.  (Maybe whoever wrote it did?)  But, at just two minutes, I’ll allow it. B-

Super Champions with Kyle (BEST SKETCH OF THE NIGHT)
Last night, I was wandering around Times Square and I immediately wondered what the hell I was thinking.  Blondie was performing a free concert that some friends were going to, so I decided to go as well.  Although I never found any of my friends, Debbie Harry and Co. rocked hard, but eegad to those crowds.
Anyway, when I saw those opening shots of Super Bowl Boulevard, I thought, “Hey, I was just there.  I wonder what they’re going to do?”  Then I saw Kyle Mooney with his skinny microphone, and I knew right away that my prayers had been answered.  I’ve mentioned before (just last week in fact) how much I was hoping Kyle would bring his man on the street shtick to SNL, and it was just as perfect as the originals (which can be found here:  I couldn’t wait to wake up this morning to watch it again.  It wasn’t as good the second time, but then I watched it about five more times, and it has rightfully proceeded to get better and better with each viewing. A

I wasn’t feeling this episode all that much (save for two excellent sketches) while watching, but looking over my review, I see I’ve given most sketches at least a B.  So I think my initial hesitation to embrace this episode was primarily due to being so tired.  Melissa McCarthy did her same old shtick of unhinged enthusiasm, but luckily I like that shtick more often than not.  Just about every sketch in this episode was trying out something unique, even including the one sketch that very much did not work out.